South West farmers encouraged to take part in Catchment Council's soil testing program

Expressions of interest are now open to take part in a soil testing program designed to help farmers make better fertiliser decisions.

Expressions of interest are now open to take part in a soil testing program designed to help farmers make better fertiliser decisions.

Expressions of interest are now open to take part in a soil testing program designed to help farmers make better fertiliser decisions.

Grazing farmers who join the program will receive subsidised access to soil testing across their whole farm, pasture tissue testing, colour nutrient maps showing nutrient surpluses and deficiencies, information and advice at a local farmer workshop as well as agronomic advice from a Fertcare accredited advisor.

Additionally, farmers who take part will be doing their bit to improve water quality in their local waterways and estuaries.

Benger beef producer Mick Haines was involved in the soil testing program in 2016 and said it’s already saved him a lot of money.

“From what we believed our farm needed before we had the soil test done to what it actually needs means thousands of dollars yearly in savings and the catchment council have been easy to deal with and super helpful the entire process,” he said.

Since 2009, nearly 15,000 samples from over 650 farms have been tested with the results showing, on average, farmers are using more phosphorous than needed for pasture growth.

The Leschenault Catchment Council warns that this not only affects the farmer’s bottom line, but is an issue for the water quality of waterways and estuaries in the South West.

With nutrient run-off from agricultural land representing the largest source of nutrients entering estuaries in the South West, farmers can play a critical role in reducing nutrients to improve water quality.

The LCC will provide farmers in the region with on ground support to get involved in the soil testing program.

LCC project officer Julie Palmer said they would be available to provide farmers with on ground support for the program.

“The soil testing we’ve already done shows that phosphorous levels are actually so high in some paddocks that farmers are now being encouraged to start a rundown phase to reduce these levels,” she said.

“This needs to be done in consultation with regular soil testing to monitor progress.”

Graziers located in the Peel-Harvey, Leschenault, Vasse-Wonnerup and Geographe, Hardy Inlet, Wilson Inlet and Oyster Harbour catchments with more than 40 hectares of cleared arable land are encouraged to apply to participate in the 2017 soil testing program.

For more information contact Julie Palmer on 9791 4773 or by email, Julie.palmer@leschenaultcc.org.au or to register your interest visit rei.dwer.wa.gov.au.

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